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Abrolhos Archipelago

We made it!

Out of Salvador, we're sailing softly trough the bay after having eaten a last banana wrapper and a papaya juice in "o suco" our favorite little bar. The wind is smooth, so is the water and the view. We catch the wind after a few hours of readapting ourselves to the ocean. The current is with us and we're slicing our way trough the water. Mardek has never been this clean and this fit. The tiller (the arm that sticks out from the back and allows us to steer the boat) is feather soft, the motor is not vibrating, the floor inside stays dry, we have a removable roof to protect us from the sun, everything has it's place and nothing is flying about. It feels like a new boat, like a new world opening to us.

We make tremendous progress, we sail nearly 3 times faster than what we got used to from Trinidad to Salvador. The wind is in our back and we fly to Abrolhos, a tiny archipelago a little north from Rio de Janeiro. It is a national reserve, birds are being studied, whales are being watched, and we, humans are not allowed on land without the escort of a guide, a cute Portuguese girl studying biology.

Did you know that some whales come here to reproduce, they usually live in the Antarctic and feed on krill, a kind of shrimp that lives only there. On their journey out here to give birth, feed their young with a daily 100 liters of creamy milk and teach them how to breathe, the whales don't eat at all!

A cold front is coming our way, it should hit us today so we'll stay around the islands to protect ourselves from the attack, leaving the island between the waves and us. We go for a swim, the water isn't very clear but we see a turtle that enchants us, big blue fish with yellow lips and other more common ones. I get a little cold and swim back on board. The sky has changed, the light is theatrical, the atmosphere is heavy, I feel fear in me and the wind shifts. In no time it turns around and we move Mardek to the other side of the island, as expected, for protection.

The wind becomes fierce and scary, and keeps on rising, the anchor loses the battle and the boat is dragging away, we throw it again, Hakan dives to check if this time it will hold, and the wind is still rising, blowing past the mast and the ropes it starts singing, louder and louder, the boat rolls. The wind will rise and scare us for the better part of the day and the night. It is impossible to sleep with the movement, uncertain if the anchor will hold us in place. The gusts sometimes shoot adrenaline trough me and I can feel my hair standing up. Mardek vibrates, arches herself under the pressure of the violent never tiring wind.

We're blocked on board, for a few days still, the wind is out there, the sky is grey, the water is confused and we are rolling and rocking, bending our bodies until it aches, bending it until we get used to it and bending it some more until we don't even notice we're in permanent movement. The body adapts, well, mine not as well as Hakan's, but that's not new.

We find our days agreeable, I swim a lot, read and eat yummy things, life is good when you adapt yourself, it is hell when you don't.

29.09.2005 / Abrolhos Archipelago

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